Project 8 puts a rad new spin on an old series that’s gone downhill over the past couple releases. Despite constant framerate issues and the occasional stupid/silly goal (fucking Bam!), THP8 is a solid and very fun game.
The Good: Character models look amazing. Absolutely massive open environment is lots of fun to skate in. Pedestrians cheer you on as you do runs down the city streets to gain “stokens” (rad!). “Nail the Trick” is just as cool as it looks in the trailer and doesn’t get old. Career mode lets you decide how you want to play it. Integration of the 3 difficulty levels is genius. Extensive leaderboards that tracks just about every aspect of the game.
The Bad: Constant struggling framerate. Stupid “jackass” goals ala Bam Margera. Clunky and confusing menus. Extremely limited character customization.
Another year, another Tony Hawk game. Can you believe this is number 8, already? I’m pleased to report that this time around, the Tony Hawk series has taken a turn for the better, and although Bam Mergera is still in the game, it’s extremely enjoyable and will most likely please long time fans of the series.
So, the deal is… Tony’s in town and he’s forming an elite group of skaters called Project 8. You then set out to skate your way up the leaderboard (starting at 200) all the way into the top 8. You start off in the suburbs, skating amongst a few town houses on a small court. But before you know it, you’ve unlocked other parts of the city and you end up with this massive environment where you can skate everything. There are no load times as you skate through the different parts of the city, but the initial load time is pretty hefty. In each part of the city there’s a set of different goals, gaps and challenges. There’s also pros you’ll encounter that have you doing some pretty fun stuff, for the most part. In case you haven’t put 2 and 2 together – the Bam pro challenge is wicked lame. And there are a few others that have you do things like hurling your body through gates and at giant bowling pins and basically make you want to scratch your eyes out. But thankfully, the vast majority are not of this nature and are pretty damn fun. I especially like the photographer challenges where you have to nail certain tricks over gaps.
In the old games, when you start a new career you chose your difficulty level. THP8 has (finally) changed that and now when you set out to complete a goal, you have 3 options. The AM level is “easy” where Pro is “normal” and Sick is well, really damn hard, in most cases. But it’s super rad to have them all there in front of you to try your hand at.
Skating around the city and doing runs is where it’s at. There’s so much to skate and it’s all laid out so well that you could literally go from one end and work your way around without hitting a wall or interrupting your run in any way. As you skate around, there’s lots of pedestrians and other skates doing their thing. When you land big tricks, they’ll cheer you on and you gain “stokens” which you can use at the shop to get new decks, tricks and pro tricks. Pro tricks being motion captured tricks of each of the pros in the game where you can act as the camera man and control the timeline. It’s actually really fun to play with and I tacked a couple minutes of it on the end of my gameplay video.
Back in September a video demonstrating the new “Nail the Trick” mode hit the net and I was all over that shit. Thankfully, it panned out quite nicely and really is an awesome addition to the series. It takes you a few times to really grasp what’s going on, but when you do, you’ll have a smile on your face for the rest of your game.
The online play is pretty solid as well. I jumped into a free skate last night with 3 other dudes. We were just tearing up the park for a few minutes until someone started a points challenge. I got my ass handed to me, but it was really fun playing against other people and hearing everyone shit talk as they pulled off huge combos. There’s a bunch of other modes that you would expect to see as well. Most of which are a good time. I found that it actually ran a lot smoother while playing online. Possibly because you’re restricted to an area of the city and there are no pedestrians wandering about.
All in all, I think THP8 is the best the series has seen in many years. Although some areas fall short like character customization, the other additions truly make up for it. Once you’ve played for a while, be sure to check out the leaderboards and see how you stack up against the rest of the world and your friends. It covers everything from your scores on every single goal in the game to how many feet you’ve manualed. Pretty awesome stuff!